Today’s guest post is by Nancy Harder of Nancy the Gnomette. Like me, Nancy is a twenty-something traveler and writer. Unlike me, Nancy and her family lead a vegan lifestyle. As a dedicated carnivore, I was curious about how veganism/vegetarianism mixes with the traveling lifestyle. I asked Nancy to provide some pointers for staying true to your beliefs when far from home and how to eat vegan on the road.
I’ve been vegan now for 6 months. Despite periodic cravings for cheese, I’ve really enjoyed this life choice. I’ve never felt healthier and I feel empowered lessening my ecological impact (among other reasons).
Veganism isn’t for everyone. What you eat is as personal a decision as who you marry and what you believe. But if you feel like experimenting with veganism or are already on the vegetarian/vegan journey, here are my top 5 tips for eating vegan on the road:
HappyCow.net is a worldwide vegetarian restaurant guide. While not comprehensive, the site is bound to have a couple of suggestions for most places. My home state, North Carolina (aka BBQ capital of the world) even has 118 veg-friendly restaurant suggestions. The site also allows you to specify only 100% veg restaurants. I’m stoked that the vegan foodie scene is gaining momentum too. You might be surprised at the vegan culinary creations going on nowadays. It’s not just tofu, granola, and Birkenstocks anymore. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…) And this gives you great ideas on where to eat vegan on the road.
#2: Pack Vegan Nutrition/Energy Bars
Although there are many brands, LÄRA bars continue to be my favorite. The banana nut bread bar is pretty darn tasty. Like many of their bars, it’s also raw, for the raw vegans out there.
#3: Prepare snacks
Eating vegan on the road will often require a little more preparation. Mickey Ds, for example, isn’t quite vegan-friendly. However, if you throw some peanut butter, hummus, veggies, apples, and crackers in your bag, you’re set to go. If you can heat things, there are many vegan, even organic, soups out there. Some of my favorites are Muir Glen and Amy’s.
#4: Go for dark greens and legumes.
Did you know that a bowl of dark greens (e.g. kale, spinach, collards) has more calcium than a glass of milk? True stuff. And legumes are a great source of protein.
#5: Walk on the wild side – eat ethnic!
Ethnic food, especially Asian and African cuisine, have plentiful vegan fare. Some of my all-time favorite dishes have always been vegan in Moroccan, Ethiopian, Indian, and Thai cuisines. Just make sure to ask about fish sauce in Asian dishes, including curry dishes.
Experiment and try veganism out for a meal. You might surprise yourself with how much you already eat that’s vegan and the variety of vegan food out there. It may be easier to eat vegan on the road than you think!
Do you have dietary restrictions but still want to travel? Check out our Culinary Travel section for more information!